We’re all about staying optimistic, but there isn’t enough pep in anyone’s step to guarantee a hitchless holiday season. No matter how hard you try, the universe has a way of throwing curveballs when you least want them… and at the worst time. Murphy’s law, anyone?
Luckily, you don’t have to be Babe Ruth to navigate the baseball field of life. Even with a couple of strikes, you can still hit a home run — and that’s exactly what we’re here to help with! Boost your business’s batting average by following these five simple tips. Batter up!
#1. Plan Ahead
Plan ahead to stay ahead. Easier said than done, right? This nugget of wisdom may seem a tad obvious, but that’s only because it’s so important. If you’re a thinker, you’ve probably done all the planning months in advance. But if you’re more of a doer, it’s crunch time.
To make sure we’re all on the same page, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your website optimized and ready to handle an influx in traffic?
- Do you have enough inventory to meet an increase in demand?
- Have you communicated your expectations with your logistics partner? Do they know what to expect from you?
- Are you in the loop with Q4 trends and projections? Are your customers?
Planning ahead is by no means foolproof, but it does serve as an effective blueprint for the coming months. In the midst of the holiday chaos, you’ll be thanking your past self for a job well done!
#2. Underpromise and Overdeliver
You’re excited about your products and what you have to offer — that’s awesome! As infectious and well-intentioned as your enthusiasm is, be careful to not get caught in a cycle of promising the world, and, for whatever reasons, being unable to deliver.
See, your online store is reliant on many moving parts. Try as you might, it’s virtually impossible to control all aspects of the eCommerce supply chain, and there’s no better example of that than what we’ve witnessed in the whirlwind that has been 2020. Manufacturing was halted, shipping carriers were overburdened, and business owners faced uncertainty of what was to come.
2020 is — hopefully — an anomaly, but it does serve as a reminder that delays and obstacles can happen anytime and anywhere. As we near the end of the year, we have the advantage of having some idea of what to expect, but it’s still better to play it safe. That means conservative estimates for order processing, shipping times, and even inventory availability. A shift in perspective can quickly flip disappointment into a sweet surprise when standards aren’t sky-high.
#3. Maintain Transparency
Honesty is always the best policy, even if the truth is not exactly music to anyone’s ears. Breaking not-so-great news to your customers is definitely one of the less glamorous aspects of entrepreneurship, but it’s also one you can’t opt out on.
If confrontation isn’t your thing (is it anyone’s?), try this:
- Have your facts straight before reaching out. If the situation is still developing, make note of that and only speak on what you know.
- Strike a balance between objectivity and empathy. Feelings of any kind can cloud your judgement, but you still want to emphasize that you’re on your customer’s side.
- Start and end on a positive note whenever possible. If there are solutions or compromises, present them. If a customer has been inconvenienced, meet them halfway by offering free swag or a discount for next time.
Fortunately, most online shoppers are fairly understanding of this unique holiday season and will be appreciative of a straightforward and honest approach.
#4. Add Value
The value you provide as a company has the potential to extend far beyond a simple transaction. The better a customer’s perception of your brand, the more likely they are to stick around.
But how, you ask? There are a ton of of creative ways to go about it, such as:
- Personalize the shopping experience by recommending products a customer might like based on previous purchases.
- Offer a rewards program for dedicated shoppers.
- Deliver engaging long and short-form content across multiple channels, such as blog posts, videos, and landing pages.
- Interact with your followers on social media.
- Knock it out of the park with an unforgettable unboxing.
Basically, anything that could be meaningful to your customers is another form of adding value. Track the responsiveness of each method to come up with a winning strategy.
#5. Solidify Customer Relationships
Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a just regular Tuesday, the main goals of a successful eCommerce company never change. Put simply, a loyal customer base is worth its weight in gold. Placing the people — not the products — first establishes a sincere connection that’s pretty hard to beat. Remember to always follow up, respond to feedback, and, above all, be understanding.
As Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, sh*it happens — sometimes. The twists and turns of life are unavoidable, but taking on a proactive attitude can do wonders in turning frowns upside down.
The ShipMonk team wishes you the best of luck! For any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help!
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